Evanston businesses, police partner to address underage drinking

World of Beer, 1601 Sherman Ave. World of Beer is one of the local businesses partnering with the Evanston Police Department and the Evanston Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition for a campaign to address underage drinking.

Daily file photo by Skylar Zhang

World of Beer, 1601 Sherman Ave. World of Beer is one of the local businesses partnering with the Evanston Police Department and the Evanston Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition for a campaign to address underage drinking.

Catherine Henderson, Assistant City Editor

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The Evanston Police Department and local businesses will partner with the Evanston Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition to kickstart a month-long campaign targeting underage drinking.

The campaign, titled YOUR ACTIONS MATTER!, is a statewide effort sponsored by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. On Thursday, Evanston community members will distribute posters and put labels on bottles at participating businesses — including World of Beer, the Wine Goddess and Evanston 1st Liquors — to remind people that the legal drinking age is 21.

“Usually when underage people get liquor, it’s provided by adults,” said Julia Brownfield, chair of the alcohol committee for the Evanston coalition and a prevention specialist at PEER Services, a drug addiction treatment center. “We hope (the campaign) is going to bring awareness to remind adults that it’s everyone’s responsibility to prevent underage drinking.”

Evanston police communications coordinator Perry Polinski said targeting liquor establishments is an important part of the effort to prevent underage alcohol consumption. He said the state’s Liquor Control Commission holds compliance checks a few times a year, and the campaign aligns with the city’s police department’s efforts to prevent underage drinking.

“(Underage drinking) is a public health issue,” Polinski said. “We can decrease the amount of incidents that are alcohol-related, whether it’s loud parties, disturbances (or) vehicle crashes.”

Polinski said EPD is also emphasizing the importance of businesses’ compliance in addressing underage consumption of tobacco and other illicit substances.

Cassy Byrne, general manager at World of Beer, said responsible vending is a large part of her industry. She said her employees work hard to ensure they do not serve minors or over serve their of-age customers.

“Of course we’re crazy about beer, but we need to do it safely and responsibly,” Byrne said. “Because we have a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking, we put a lot of emphasis on drinking responsibly.”

Byrne said World of Beer confiscates the fake IDs they find and does not allow minors in the business after 9 p.m. She said she and her employees see “quite a bit” of fake IDs, and she attributed this to the proximity to Northwestern.

Brownfield said the Evanston Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition’s efforts are not associated with NU. However, she said she reached out to organizations on campus to include them in this month’s alcohol awareness efforts. She added that she would like to see the campaign at NU in future years.

Email: catherinehenderson2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @caity_henderson

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